The Relationship Between Black People and Voting

It runs DEEP.

Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash

There is no denying the power of the Black vote. It’s the reason Joe Biden was able to win South Carolina in the primaries, which set the path to getting elected. The Black population in Atlanta is essentially to thank for making the state blue. The Black vote is a large factor in any election.

The Black vote is valuable. It’s why for so many years they didn’t want us to have the right. It’s why in 1787, we were only counted as 3/5 of a person. It’s why we had poll taxes, literacy tests, fraud and intimidation used to turn African Americans away from the polls. It’s why today Republicans are working tirelessly to pass laws that make it harder for us to vote.

If politicians want the Black vote they are going to have to work for it. The Black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012. Black people need to be excited for a politician and believe that they will actually help the commuting. Many people like to blame Black people for not coming out in 2016 like they did in 2012 but that is because politicians don’t work to get the Black vote and oppressive policies are in place to make sure voting is hard for us. Voter ID laws, cuts to early voting, mass purges of voter rolls, felony convictions, gerrymandering, not having off for election day and long voting lines and limited places to vote are all current ways to suppress the Black vote.

When Black people do vote after they are promised changed by politicians, our communities never seem to change whether a Democrat or Republican is in office. Just look how quick it took to pass the Anti-Asian Hate Crime Bill but for some reason we can’t get bill passed that help Black people. Black people would feel more inclined to vote if there were more Black candidates to vote for. When we do have Black candidates, white politicians rig them of winning (ex. Stacey Abrams) or try to discredit their eligibility (ex. Obama birther conspiracy).

So how can we get more black people involved and feel more confident in the government? For one, candidates and officials need to speak directly to Black voters. Listen to Black voters and hear what they care about. We want more that police reform and ending the private prism systems. Actually come up with plans to help black people and the community and go through with their promises. If Black people know there will be no change, then there is no motivation for them to vote.

Eliminate the two party system and electoral college. Black people feel like we are picking the less of two evils but nothing ever changes for us. We need more options than Democrats vs. Republicans that actually have a chance of winning.

As a community (in addition to politicians), we need to educate our community more on the importance of their vote and think of creative and engaging ways to increase Black voter turn out. Additionally we must fight for former felons to get the right to vote, help get people to the polls and start with small change and effort in our local community.

So-Called Oreos on Instagram

In this episode, the So-Called Oreos explain their personal relationship to how their family influenced them to get knowledgable about politics before dropping facts about the history between Black people and voting since the end of slavery until now. The Oreos debunk the myth of Black Americans not voting and explain the reasons and laws put in place to discourage Black people from voting. The conversation ends by giving suggestions on how we can get more Black people involved and feeling more confident in the government.

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Rebranded from So-Called Oreos, Sufficiently Black is a show that explores what it means to be comfortable in your Blackness.

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Sufficiently Black Podcast

Sufficiently Black Podcast

Rebranded from So-Called Oreos, Sufficiently Black is a show that explores what it means to be comfortable in your Blackness.

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